Friday, February 26, 2010

WiiWare Review -- Maboshi's Arcade

Some of my favorite games have been the most simple things imaginable. People who know me personally know that one of my favorite multiplayer games is an imported GameCube game by the name of Kururin Squash, and the design and concept are so simple that you'd imagine the depth of such a game would be explored and gone within minutes (you move a rotating stick through a maze and the only controls are move, move faster, and rotate faster). Yet after nearly four years the game still isn't old when I drag it out for gaming nights with friends. When I was looking through the list of WiiWare puzzle games I saw kind things said about Maboshi's Arcade, a simple yet challenging little game from Mindware, I thought I'd found true love. I return to you, however, a broken man.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Four Quarter Frenzy -- Gerbil Physics

Quick story about this game. I had the full intention of buying this a while ago after immensely enjoying the trial. The thing that pushed me over the edge, though, was that I wanted to play and finish the game for this month's theme (puzzle games). So, a few days prior, I sat down on the couch while waiting for a pizza delivery and threw my 80 MS Points at Pencel Games, hoping to put a dent in the game. 30 minutes later, the pizza arrived and I only had two of the 24 stages left. A few slices of pizza later and I had nothing left to do in the game. Normally it's difficult for me to recommend such a short game. This time, however, I can't help but do exactly that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Update -- WiiWare releases, XBox Live DOTW, Review choice

This is the first Monday in quite a long while that didn't see a new Virtual Console title. Kind of odd since the first days of the Wii saw 3-5 releases per week, but I suppose back then didn't have WiiWare titles at all, of which we have three this week. First up is GhostSlayer, a game that I can best describe as Time Crisis with a sword instead of guns. 600 Wii Points buys you this game and, if you have one laying around, you may use your Wii Motion Plus for better control. Next we have Mouse House, a traditional top-down puzzle game that involves moving a mouse around to find cheese. Looks like a cute little throwback to the Adventures of LoLo days and will set you back 600 points. And, finally, Arc System (makers of Guilty Gear/Blazblue) is putting out...a family go-kart racing game called, er, Family Go-Kart Racing. 500 Wii Points buys what appears to be a straight-up Mario Kart clone but with a family theme instead of plumbers and princesses. I suppose it could be worth it with a Dukes of Hazzard voice-over whenever you catch air off a jump, but you'll have to supply that.

On the XBox Live side of things, Duke Nukem 3D for 400 MS Points is this week's Deal of the Week. Makes me sad that I can't play it as I had a blast with the demo before getting a headache for the remainder of the day. Fun stuff.

And, finally, this week's review is of the WiiWare title Maboshi's Arcade. Don't be surprised if I sneak an Indie game somewhere in this week to fit in this month's puzzle theme.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Note -- What to review?

After nearly two months of weekly reviews I've noticed something. Namely, my dislike of devoting a week to Wii Virtual Console games. Don't get me wrong, I love popping in some of the old titles and remembering what made them fun long ago and seeing how well or how poorly they've aged. I don't think that this qualifies them to have a full week devoted to a review, however. So starting next month I'll be replacing the Wii VC review slot with either another XBox Live Indie title or an XBox Live Arcade title. After tweaking the schedule it'll look like so:

1st week -- XBox Live Indie
2nd week -- XBox Live Arcade
3rd week -- WiiWare
4th week -- XBox Live Arcade or Indie
5th week -- Random (when it happens)

Does this mean I won't ever talk about the good ol' days of gaming ever again? Absolutely not. I'll still mention the Wii VC releases every Monday. In addition, I'll give short reviews once a month when I find something that is either so good or so bad I can't pass up mentioning it.

Until then.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wii VC Puzzle Challenge! Yoshi's Cookie vs Wario's Woods

There are two kinds of competitive multiplayer types when it comes to puzzle games. One involves winning only when the other player loses, much like Tetris or Puzzle League where filling the opponent's screen with stuff is the only way to earn a win. The other is more goal-oriented where, though you can win by default if the opponent messes up enough, a win is normally earned by completing some sort of task. The most famous of these is Dr. Mario where you get rid of all the viruses, second most famous is Making Out With Your Girlfirend where you get rid of everyone else for an hour...and instantly lose when your parents walk in. The two NES-era puzzle games I'm reviewing today, Yoshi's Cookie and Wario's Woods, fit the latter example (meeting a goal, not making out). But as each one is 500 Wii Points and, assuming you don't have either, you are stuck with the choice of purchasing only one, which one of these classic puzzlers should you plunk down your digital dollars on?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Update -- XBLA Release

Quick update. The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, a puzzle-based platformer of sorts, is available on XBox Live for 800 MS Points. I can't recommend trying this game enough. The charm alone is worth the time to download the free demo. I can't wait to dive into the game later this week. Expect a review within the next two weeks.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Update -- WiiWare/VC Releases, XBL DOTW, Review choices

Mondays are usually known for being full of suck (and, over the last month here, full of snow). Thankfully, Nintendo releases their downloadable games on Monday to make your week start off with a little less desire to play in traffic.

WiiWare delivers this week with Phoenix Wright: Justice For All. 1000 Points grabs the second game in the Phoenix Wright courtroom/detective series. Also this week is Art of Balance for 800 Points, a game revolving around dropping blocks in a stack and hoping they don't fall over. Like reverse Jenga. And, finally, we have WarMen Tactics, which looks like a rail shooter that involves taking cover and deciding when to move forward. 800 Points for that one.

The Virtual Console, once again, has a sole entry this week in the form of Sonic & Knuckles from the Sega Genesis. 800 Points buys this if you don't have it on some other system or compilation and, if you also have the Virtual Console versions of Sonic 1, 2, and/or 3, you can use the lock-on feature that gave the game one of the more interesting and innovative features of its Genesis days.

On the 360 side of things, the XBL Deal of the Week is Battlefield 1943 for 800 MS Points. Not being a fan of throwing up a lot I unfortunately have to pass.

Speaking of not throwing up, this week's review choice includes not one but TWO NES puzzle games on the Virtual Console: Yoshi's Cookie and Wario's Woods. I haven't played either of these in a couple years so it'll be fun to go back and see if I like them after the euphoria that was Chime.

Friday, February 12, 2010

XBLA Review -- Chime

A little over three years ago I bought Lumines Plus for the PS2 and probably put more hours into that game than nearly any other single player game I've purchased. Yes, the game had multiplayer, but it didn't hold a candle to the zone-out-for-an-hour gameplay of the single player mode. The depth of the seemingly simple game paired with the way your play affected the soundtrack provided the most entertaining and rewarding puzzle game I've ever played. So when Zoe Mode's Chime was being compared to Lumines I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Update -- XBLA release, XBLA DOTW

This Wednesday's XBLA update is a long-awaited port of a PC favorite, Darwinia+. The game was retooled for the 360 to try and fit the RTS gameplay with the 360 controller. Definitely trying the demo out when I get a chance, though the 1200 MS Point purchase will probably have to wait for a while.

Also this week is a discount on three other games normally priced at 1200 MS Points. Invincible Tiger, Marvel vs Capcom 2, and TMNT Turtles in Time Reshelled are all 800 MS Points until the end of the week. I personally didn't care for the TMNT remake and MVC2 - though a great game - isn't my cup of tea. Invincible Tiger, however, looks interesting and may make it into a future review.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Four Quarter Frenzy -- Pocoro

My first review in a series devoted to games that cost a dollar, Four Quarter Frenzy, brought me to a little puzzle game called Pocoro. Most things that can be bought for said amount, especially in the world of gaming, are usually very dated, very short, or very, VERY bad, with some being all three. With some amount of luck, the first choice for this series - and the freshman entry from its developer - ended up being none of these three.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Update -- WiiWare/VC releases, Review choice

This Monday's WiiWare update caters to my childhood. No, not with Bloons, though I'm sure someone out there will find a puzzle game involving a dart-throwing monkey worth 500 Wii points. Not with Hubert The Teddy Bear Winter Games, either (500 Wii points, apparently childish bears vs bunnies). And, as cool as it looks, not with Tomena Sanner either. Though that one might get checked out at some point in time for 500 as I do heart myself some rhythm-based side-scrollers with severely weird designs. No, all of these are overshadowed in my nostalgic eyes by Blaster Master Overdrive, a remake of the NES Blaster Master. Not sure if it'll be worth 1000 Wii points or get reviewed for that matter but I can't help feeling a huge urge to revisit long hours of getting stuck and frustrated all over again.

On the Virtual Console side of things, we're looking at a single but unique entry from the NES era, Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom. 500 points buys a command-based adventure involving political rebellion, kidnapped royalty, and produce. Really, I can't make stuff like that up. Looks interesting.

Walking away from all that, my review choice. Taking a slight deviation from the proposed schedule, I'll be reviewing Chime this week instead of next. I'd review it right this second but I don't think "go buy it" will suffice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

XBL Indie Games Review -- Kaotik Puzzle

Mash-ups can either be the coolest thing in the world or will cause you to lose faith in humanity. Example of the former being the Super Smash Bros. games and Capcom's Versus series, while an example of the latter would look something like this. Somewhere inbetween is probably where this gem goes. This week's review is of a mash-up that I'm surprised hasn't been done more: competitive puzzle games.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Update -- XBLA Release

Wednesday is always a fun day for me, mostly because I love seeing the new games on XBLA. Sometimes they're junk, sometimes they're obscure, and sometimes they suck my life away for weeks or even months, but it's always interesting. Today's entry is no exception. Musical-puzzler Chime is this week's sole XBLA entry this week but it's definitely interesting. Any fans of Lumines know how fun it can be when how well you do directly affects what happens to the song you're hearing and Chime delivers that same feeling. In addition to being a solid title, Chime weighs in at a mere 400 MS Points, a bargain usually reserved for Indie Game titles, and no less than 60% of that five dollars will go toward OneBigGame. So, let's review. Fun game, cheap price, and you help charity.

...why are you still here? ;P

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Update -- WiiWare/VC releases, XBLA DOTW, Review Choice

The Cure says Monday could fall apart. If it did, however, we'd never get new Wii downloadable content, and I'd be sad. (It should be known, however, that Tuesday and Wednesday DO break my heart.)

This week's Wii Virtual Console is a single yet historic entry from the Sega Master System, Alex Kidd in Shinobi World. 500 Wii Points gets you, well, Alex Kidd in, um, the world of Shinobi. It's like Aerosmith featuring Run DMC. Or something.

Moving on to WiiWare, we have the final chapter of adventure series Tales of Monkey Island for 1000 Wii Points, action-puzzler Tumblebugs 2 (Electric Boogaloo) for 800 Wii Points, and the obligatory 5-in-1 Solitare for 500 Wii Points.

Speaking of puzzlers, February is the month of love, and nothing says love like a puzzle. 'cause both are confusing. And frustrating. know, if I have to explain it, it ruins the joke, so I'll just say that this month will be devoted to puzzle games. Starting this trend off is Silvermax's competitive puzzler Kaotic Puzzle on XBox Live's Indie Games.

Finally, the XBLA Deal of the Week for this week is 'Splosion Man for 400 MS Points. So, if you don't have it already, get it. It's that good. Try the demo if you don't believe me, but don't pass this up.